Derek opens his mission call

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carry the corpse downstairs

приветствую! как же туха?

merry holidays everyone! i congratulate you with christmas!

we have been decorating our apartment. lets just say, we bought a christmas tree. a real one! they are pretty cheap here. we got it for less than ten bucks. in our apartment were already some lights and other decorations too. and thanks to my PACKAGES!!!!!!! i put up the merry christmas sign.

THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGES!!!!!!! i am so excited for everything! they are so good. i think they got a little bit....ukrained...but hopefully everything important is still there. i'll send a picture. i love the pictures and letters!! that’s probably my favorite part. and the beef jerky. and mexican spices. mmmmmm. also, a big thank you to everyone who sent me christmas cards! thank you the pews! thank you the stauffers! i love getting letters.

we had a good week. one of the more interesting days of my mission was thursday. there we were, sitting innocently in the morning. suddenly our branch president calls us and asks us for some help. so we go over to this member's house, and it turns out that his mom has died (no one was too surprised, she was like 95 years old). I hope this doesn't sound like i'm taking death lightly. so the help that was needed was for us to go up four stories, and carry the corpse downstairs. one of their weird traditions says that family members aren't allowed to do anything with the dead body. so first of all, the stench was aweful. she was laying there on a bed in their apartment. we picked up the four corners of the sheet she was laying on and started walking. ukrainian stairwells, if i haven't told you this before, are not very spacious. just imagine trying to be respectful of the dead while carrying her down stairs in bedsheets. just outside the door was the coffin, where we laid her. we sang a few hymns, and they nailed the coffin shut. then they shoved in in the back of a car, me and my comp got in with it, and we drove to the cemetary. once we got there, we waited a bit for some more people to come. about ten people were there. we just kind of tried to stay out of the way. some workers came and took the box and everyone followed. they put it in the ground. they threw some dirt on as i watched from a distance. they said a couple of words, and we walked away.

ok so i just talked to you on skype, which took a lot of time away from writing. i'll be brief. tuesday was a really good day. we got two new brother investigators! one named philip, the other festos. both are way legit, festos says he already knows that the book of mormon is true and that our church is the true church. they are a spiritual race, i tell you what.

unfortuanately hales got sick for his first time in ukraine (aww) on friday, so we didn't get much done. but it was my 18 month mark!! so i burned a shirt and tie.

saturday was a day of business. i signed all the contracts and paid all the money for a new apartment in alexeevka. it was interesting...luckily it wasn't too complicated. i just signed all the papers, and now we own the apartment.

yeah. i'm now out of things to write. it was great to talk with you. i can't wait for sunday. I love you!!!!

love, elder derek brimley

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trains New Missionary (Who Wrote the Book of Mormon)

yo yo yo!

training is pretty fun. and funny sometimes. before i ruthlessly make fun of him, i'll say that we really get along, so it's ok. he's a cool kid. i'm glad i get to serve with him. we were walking home the first night, and there was this huge puddle of water. i told him that we should probably walk around, but i guess it didn't look too deep to him, so he starts making his way through. it got really deep and he just started running, yelling "its ochen deep! ochen deep!" haha, it was like above his ankles. i tried to warn him.

it just reminds me of being a greenie myself. that was a really long time ago, but i remember it pretty well. not understanding most anything, no one understanding anything i say, just being completely overwhelmed with it all. allow me to introduce him: his name is elder hales, no relation to the other elder hales. he is straight out of high school, which is really funny hearing all his high school stories. i feel like i grew up a lot while i was at byu, even if i wasn't mature at all. its just funny, hearing about high school drama again. i'm sooooo happy i'm not in high school anymore. its been like...almost 3 years since senior year. geez. he's from roosevelt, utah, which makes him my fourth utahn out of 12. i'm doing pretty good. he's cool, chill, and fun. i'm happy.

we had a couple of good brother lessons this week. one with this guy named stanley and his roomate, yesse (sounds like a guy in the army saying, yessir). he turned out to be a jehovah's witness! who'da thunk? well, they are cool, but aren't too... reliable. but oh well. yesse was new, so we preached the book of mormon. he seemed interested and said he would start reading and praying. legit! the other new brother we found is named micheal. he is...interesting. really funny. he was saying stuff like, "God gave me so many talents! i can sing. i can act. i can play football. in my country, i was a great player. people would watch me play football, and they would say, wow. micheal, you are a great player. so i must use these talents to increase my popularity. but this is not to feed my VANITY! i will use my popularity to preach the GOSPEL! think about it. if out there on the streets, lil' wayne began to preach the gospel, what would you do? you would go and listen. everyone would go and listen. and probably 1000 people would have a baptism." he started talking about how some people were "destined for hellfire", and that if we could see with our spiritual eyes, we would see "thousands of demons flying around" outside. he was cool, a bit crazy, but cool. just crazy enough.

that reminds me of the lesson we had with brat gorskee. he is one of the strongest members of the church here in ukraine. he used to be our branch president, and we met with him the first time on tuesday or something. he told us this story of the day after a surgery, he was laying down in the recovery. this was the first day in his 17 years in the church that he hadn't read the book of mormon. yeah, he's legit. but he said that he felt an evil spirit of darkness around him because he hadn't read. he said he could feel hundreds of demons flying around the room. then he put his arm to the square and cast them out, and they all left. he has a lot of stories like that, he is a spiritual giant. awesome guy.

a couple of nights ago we were having a lesson with a member, and hales told her that he wrote the book of mormon. i did my best not to laugh, but that was a good one.

wait did i tell you that i got my scriptures back? oh my gosh it was a miracle. so if you remember, i lost my scriptures when i came into country. i left them in some airplane and figured they were gone for good. well when the new greenies came to donetsk, some guy in the airport asked them if they knew elder brimley. they said no, but took the number. i called it, and they have kept them for the past year and 4 months. and now i have them back! and they are so much better. i'm so happy.

we've been really busy, which is good. but busy with stuff other than straight up missionary work, so not as good. but i like not having too much free time.

here is my favorite quote of the week. it is from a brother named bede. i asked him to give me some information about another brother, and he went off: 'i don't know! i don't know. i cannot give an account of what i do not know!" that’s just how they talk. it's so funny. i love the brothers.

well, i love you guys. have great weeks, respectively.

cordially yours,

elder brimley

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anya gets baptized

So, surprise!, I'm back in donetsk. There has been a total of 1 (yes, one) transfer, during which i did not see donetsk. why, you may ask, am in donetsk this time? that is an excellent question. but to build suspense, i'm going to first talk about the baptism.

it went great! kind of. here, unlike most of the civilized world/ church, missionaries are in charge of the entire baptism. and this week we have had a lot to do. i mean, a lot. i'll get to the rest of it later. suffice it to say, we unfortunately couldn't focus 100 percent of our attention on preparation for the baptism. it didn't help that when we got to the church, they had moved the piano into a different room, and said we couldn't move it. so we set everything up in that room, until our branch president came and told us that we had to do it in another room. so we had to re set up really quickly. and then it turned out that the baptismal program had a lot of mistakes (a LOT of mistakes) because, i was in charge of it completely. and i'm human. unfortunately, our branch presidency doesn't understand that, and combined with a preconceived hatred to all missionaries, it made for a long scolding for me. in the end, she was baptised, and everything worked out. but it was stress, ful! elder fish baptised her, and i gave her the holy ghost yesterday. she is great!

so lets go back to... tuesday. tuesday night i called into the zl's, and they mention that elder mcCallson is going home the next day, a week early because of his arm. remember him? yeah, he's going to need surgery. anyways, i wanted to say goodbye, so i called the ap's (one of which is a former companion, haizen). i said my goodbyes to mccallson, and then haizen said he wanted to talk to me. first thing he says: how would you feel if i told you that you were being transferred on sunday? i said that i would honestly be pissed. sorry mom, i couldn't think of a better word. you can edit that one out. he said, are. the new greenies finally got their visa's (they have been serving in america for a month) and you are going to train one of them, and your companion fish will train one of them in alexeevka. needless to say, i was furious. i didn't sleep well that night out of rage. i was not happy.

the next day- oh! i forgot to mention something awesome. wednesday, we had the baptismal interview with anya. the branch presidency were pretty against the baptism, because she couldn't really come to church because of school. well, we asked them to talk to her about it, because i still felt that she could be baptised, and that she would remain active. i just knew. well wednesday she told us that she decided not to take the extra courses next semester, so after three weeks, she will be able to come to church every week! it was a miracle. after the interview, we made president talk with her, because, we wanted him to put his stamp of approval on the baptism. i of course didn't want to baptise her without his permission. they had a good talk.

so that day i was on a split with mendoza. we were eating dinner that night, and i get a call from elder haizen again. we made a mistake, he said. fish is leaving, and you are staying. i thanked my lucky stars, and made sure that it wasn't because of something i said that made them change it. he said that that day, he, his companion, and president prayed one last time about the transfer, and all felt like the change had to be made. it was a miracle! poor fish, i don't envy his position. i couldn't really pretend to be excited for him, because he saw how (sorry) pissed i was about leaving. i think he is ok with it.

another thing we had to do- apparently they want to put another couple of missionaries in the alexeevka branch (which i am against, by the way). so we had to go check out an apartment that they picked out. we met with the landlord, talked about the apartment, looked at it, talked about what else missionaries will need (there is only one bed and no washing machine). but overall, it was really nice. i told them we will take it, and let the office talk with them about paperwork. the next day, saturday (yeah, baptism day), they called me up and said that they reconsidered and decided not to give us the apartment. before i could ask why they hung up. so i called the office, and he said he would figure it out. i haven't heard about it since.

so sunday after church we headed by bus to donetsk to pick up the greenies. it was a really long ride because the stupid bus stopped in every city, and waited forever. and they were playing this stupid sitcom that was like scrubs but not funny. a normally 5 hour ride turned into 7 1/2. boo. oh well. we got in, and slept over at some elders house.

so this morning we went to the church and had a little transfer meeting, got our greenies, and had a good little meeting. we are leaving in about thirty minutes to catch a train. that should be fun. so now i'm with...elder hales, from utah! only my fourth from utah. we haven't had a chance to talk too much, but i think he will be good. this is a for sure 2 transfer companion. took a while to have one of those.

ok questions. we had a thanksgiving for the ward. in ukraine they have 'harvest day', which they just stole from us. i don't know the life expectancy, but i think it is probably around 65 or so. its rare you meet any older than that. there are older men, they are usually jerks and drunk though. not too many old man investigators. there are many more women than men. but that is pretty church wide. my companion is feeling well. it is pretty cold, it stays around zero. part of the city is decorated, yes. it should be really pretty when there is snow. i don't know about the packages, but i hope they come soon!!!!! thanks for them in advance!!!! you are the best. i will look for a nativity thing. that is a way good idea.

we are kind of in a hurry. thanks for everything! i love you! wish me luck...

elder brimley

Monday, November 28, 2011

And Most Importantly

ok this was quite the week, so here we go.

first of all, monday night. we had a lesson with anya, it was good. i don't know if the other elders before us ever tried to put her on date for baptism, but it was super easy. we just asked her to pick a date, and she picked december 3rd. so, we are having a baptism this week! four o'clock. she is so ready. there was one problem though. she can't come to church, because she goes to school on sundays. we talked it over with her, we talked with president campero, and he said that we are allowed to baptise her. she finishes school in may, and after that she will come to church every week. she has a super good friend in the church, so that was one big comfort, that she wasn't just going to go inactive. we thought it over, and figured that it would be ok. she is also only 17, so we got her parents permission, thankfully. so on sunday, we told our branch presidency, and they were pretty worried that we were baptizing yet another inactive girl. which is understandable- it happens all the time. luckily, we had a lesson set up for after church, so we asked the branch president to talk with her.

so she comes for the lesson, and gives us the great news- she isn't going to enroll in the next semester, so she can come to church every week (after this semester ends in three weeks)! plus, she is coming to church this sunday to receive the holy ghost. that was just a miracle. president miroshnichenko (branch president) talked with her, made sure she was ready, and then gave his approval as well. its so great!! i am so excited for her. she is such a cool girl. its cool seeing the divine hand work everything out. everybody pray so that nothing goes wrong. ved it's ukraine.

i went on a split with elder stradling on tuesday. we had a couple of funny meetings. first with this lady named zoya. she is crazy. but a fun sort of crazy. she starts out almost every sentence with the words, "and most importantly!" and then goes on to say what is most important. and usually, its not that important. "...and most importantly, you need to protect your legs from the cold." but she is a good lady. she gave us a referral! she said she was going to contact her for us, and then give us the ok to contact her.

oh man. thanksgiving was awesome. we had a feast at the branch on wednesday night, and then a missionary feast on thursday. it was so awesome. i haven't had real pumpkin pie in a long time. mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, everything. it was so incredible. i just can't get over it. i stuffed myself to the brim, naturally. oh my boy it was so good. i can't wait for next years thanksgiving. oh man!

unfortunately, elder fish got pretty sick on friday and saturday. he's doing better, but still not 100%. oh! on saturday there was a baptism in center xarkov, so we went to see it. the lady that got baptised was interesting. she is an old lady, with this HUGE braid of hair that goes to her thighs. and she requested the water to be super cold. poor elder thornburg. when she got in the water, she was like, so, three times, right? he said no, just once. what!? its always three times! then she wouldn't give him her hands, saying that she wasn't afraid, and then tried to dunk herself. he finally got her to be still, said the prayer, and did it. afterwards, she bore her testimony and said that 3 was God's favorite number, so she has now been baptised 3 times! she is a sweet lady though.

after the baptism, i had my first lesson with a brother! it went great. he is a legit, smart, really cool guy from nigeria. speaks english very... understandably. but, of course, he actually recently moved into the other elder's area. so we passed him to them. he is a cool guy. i think he can go the whole way.

i gave a talk on sunday, and i tried to use a whole bunch of idiomatic phrases that i've picked up, and the members ate it up. everybody thought it was so funny. heres my favorite: in russian, you can say, "there are few of us, but we are in sailor shirts", and it means, basically, we can do it even though our numbers are few. they loved that one. and yes, i bought a sailor shirt down in mariupol, just in case you were wondering.

that was the week. i think it was a good week. this week should be pretty busy with the baptism stuff, but that’s how i like it. i think that is about all that i've got. i'm still loving life in aleksayvka. i'm happy and working hard. that’s good. i hope all is well there, it sounds like it is. i love you guys, and always pray for you.

have a great week.

love elder brimley

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Broken Toe

haw fah? sorry just brushing up on my pidgen.

my return date has been changed. my visa expires on july 7th, so i can't go home july 10th, so either i'm going to get my visa renewed again, or i'm coming home at the end of may-ish. i don't know which, i guess i'll just wait and see.

that was quite the letter, mom. i don't know what to say.

my shoes, shirts, suits.... one pair of shoes is owned. the other is fine, and i got a pair of boots for the winter, so i should be good on shoes until the end. my shirts are fine, i still have some in the package. i pretty much never wear long sleeve, i always just have short sleeve under other layers. my suits are both fine, i don't wear them too often. my camera is AWESOME. it is so....sleek. i'm satisfied.

this was another interesting week. so on monday playing soccer i messed up my big right toe pretty bad by kicking (accidentally) someones foot. yeah, i was pretty sure it was broken. it was really painful. i was limping around for like three days. it got swollen pretty bad, and turned purple-ish. but i got an x-ray on tuesday, and they didn't think it was broken. so i guess i'm good. it only kind of hurts now. tuesday i decided to take it easy, so i let my comp go on some splits for the lessons we had set up and i sat at home the whole day. i still think its broken, and ukranian doctors are just stupid. oh well.

we had a big meeting on wednesday that took up most of the day. and then the church was closed for cleaning (no one told us, and actually the branch president didn't even know about it). so we had to cancel our investigator lesson/ coordination meeting. so that day was shot.

nobody ever can meet until night time here, thanks to school and work. so thursday we didn't have anything until six, a good lesson with anya, our cool investigator who is really close to baptism. we committed her to choose a date for baptism by our next meeting. and our next meeting is tonight! so lets pray for her. after that we had a member lesson with the coolest. family. ever. they fed us, and are just the funnest, funniest, most legit members ever. it is an older couple, probably in their 40's or 50's, and they are just a blast. we played uno with some of their special rules, and it was just a great night. awesome, awesome people.

stanislav, another investigator is doing well. the church had an open house on saturday, and he came, and really liked it. we also met with him on friday. he has a 3-d tv, and showed us how it works. it was really legit. and we had a good lesson about putting God first in our lives, before anything else. i think he got it, i hope. he is leaving for a few weeks, so we won't be able to meet for a while. but we can stay in touch through TEXTING. did i tell you we can now TEXT? it is awesome!!!! i've been texting the brothers like crazy, reminding them of everything. its so so so great.

we had a pancake waffle night on saturday night, which was unfortunate, because our investigator ben, from america, said he was coming, and then dogged us. but we still got waffles and pancakes. it was delicious. i havent had waffles in over a year. and they made blueberry waffles as well! tasty.

THANKSGIVING is this week!!!!! our branch is having a huge feast celebration on wednesday, and then all of the kharkov missionaries are getting together thursday afternoon for another huge feast. i'm going to get huge. other than that, i hope nothing intrudes our week, because we should have a successful one if everything goes smoothly, and people can meet. we have so much potential in this area, if we can just meet with people! ugh.

well, i love you. i love the mission, i love the church, and i love life! i'm getting trunky thinking about my release date. but not too bad. did i tell you that a subway is opening up in my area sometime? i don't know when, but i hope i'm here for it. i'll go everyday.

ok i'm blabbering. once again, i love y'all.

elder brimlez

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Derek Loves the African-Ukranians


i've been working on my jive. you just replace all the t's with d's. id's hader dan choo dink. ad ids relly had da undastand. plus they mix up the accents in words all the time. its so hard to understand! but its still really cool. i actually didn't meet any of the brothers until sunday, though we had 8 set up lessons with them. they don't up to lessons. we have changed our game plan. we are going to just meet with member brothers, and tell them to invite friends. we figure member brothers will be a bit more reliable. hopefully.

we keep really busy in this area. if people would come to their appointments, we would be doing awesome. we would have had around 10 investigator lessons. it's hard, they are so awesome if you meet with them, but getting them to where you want them is crazy difficult. i feel kind of racist all the time, but... its just their culture. about 10 percent of the time, brothers will answer their phones. if you talk to them, they will 90 percent of the time set up a lesson with you (though i usually only understand 20 percent of what they say). and then probably 5 percent of the time, they won't show. but, from what i hear, if you meet with them, 75 percent of the time, they agree to be baptised on the first lesson. probably about 10 percent get baptised eventually. that’s a lot better than the .01 percent for the average ukrainian, i guess.

you might be interested to know that elder mendoza is in my district. i don't know if i've mentioned this, but me and him get along awesome. i love mendoza, we are tight friends now. maybe i have mentioned that. we went on a split this last week and it was a blast. we caught a pigeon out of his 7 story window. don't worry, we let it go.

on saturday we did some service at a zoo, it was fun. our zone all came and cleaned up and planted some trees. i just realized that we planted trees in november. it is winter. then our branch president called us and we went and helped him move out of his apartment. he is really wealthy, and had a lot of stuff. and lives on the fourth floor without an elevator. they had this huge sofa, and couldn't figure out how to get it through the door, so we ended up lowering it down from his balcony using ropes. it was scary, i was at the bottom, and this giant sofa was lowering on top of me. if it had broken off, i'd be dead. but thanks to the mercy of God, i live.

i'm loving life. i love staying busy, and i'm always busy in this area. i don't like being rushed, and that also happens, but i love being busy. i hope i stay here a long time. pray for me.

i love you guys. thanks for sending me letters and reading mine. i cant wait to talk to you in what, six weeks? woohoo! and it will be skype!!!! i get to see you guys. oh yeah, i hit my 2/3rds mark on a mission this last thursday. crazy, huh? it feels like i'm about to go home, that is so sad! i wish i still had 2 years ahead of me. the mission is a heartwrenching experience. man.

ok i got sidetracked. have a great week!

love, elder brimley

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

me and fish white-washed in

Dear family and friends,

as waz of explanation, the kezboard is prettz messed up. the y and z are mixed up, but it isnt worth taking time to fix. so deal with it.

I am in Alexeevka!!!!! it is a part of xarkov. and actuallz, it is known throughout the mission as the best area. like, the verz best. it is true, i testifz. i have a list of about 20 current investigators. the secret of success? black people. so simple. there are a lot of english speaking universities around this area, and it is reallz cheap. so africans come bz the hundreds. and i tell zou what. thez are all reallz humble, happz, and willing to listen. thez are super faithful.

here are a couple of miracles that have happened in the past two dazs. i got a call from this guz, he was speaking english. he set up a lesson with us for the next daz. turns out, he is from pakistan, was baptised there, and had to escape from the muslims that were going to kill him for being christian. but he is a super strong member, such simple, but strong faith. he is kind of culture shocked (he said when he got off the plane and saw his breath, because it is cold, he got afraid because he thought it was smoke, and he never has smoked!) and doesn't speak a lick of english. but he is a great guz.

then we were walking to district conference zesterdaz, and this black guz, henceforth known as a brother, comes up to us. he is kind of an investigator, but we didnät know that. we saz we are going to church, and he was like, oh, i cant come. i just had a waz late night, i need sleep. we talk a bit more, and he was like, zou know what, im coming. theres no reason to miss church. turns out, he is from pennszlvania. he is an awesome, huge black guz, and he reallz liked conference. this area, man. its just...

there is a store like costco about a 20 minute walk from mz house. and thez are building a mall right next to that, with a SUBWAZ!!!!!!! but i will probablz be home bz the time it is open. anzwazs, i want to die here. i love it so much.

i called a brother zesterdaz 3 times, he said he was coming 3 times, and then he didnät come, and wouldnt answer his phone. but if zou meet with them, thez will get baptised. there are like 10 member brothers in the branch. lots of translating to do, zes.

zour prazers worked out. i was reallz sad to leave mariupol after onlz 2, three is more common. it was sad to saz goodbze to everzone, and the delicious sharmas. sasha was doing great, he said this- i like mormons. i love mormons. mazbe, one daz, i will be a mormon. then i said- mormons love zou too! and he said- zes, and i can feel it. i hope he gets baptised. not too much happened my last week in mariupol. but i really love that place.

i never got anything ordered anything from the art lady, she was kind of hard to work with. she only lived in mariupol two days of the week, and i only really ever saw her on sundays. but i can still get stuff ordered, it will just be more difficult. i might. for the christmas package.... oh you know me. i never know what to ask for. i'm sure you guys can think of good stuff. nothing that i will have to bring back, unless it is really cool. i don't need any more weight. thanks!!!! and yes, i'm feeling completely well. maybe still a bit fat from halloween. (speaking of returning to BYU) i don't know about anything related to housing. i'm know absolutely nothing. i can figure it out, online, if you need me to. oh no. you made me TRUNKY. most missionaries i've talked to agree. trunkiness is more just like a state of being on a mission. it never goes away. sometimes you can just ignore it better than other times. less than nine months....

oh yeah, my companion is named elder fish. yeah, he gets lots of remarks about that from ukranians. ooh, kak riba, da? he is a young elder, from las vegas. (2nd from las vegas.) he is a good kid, friendly, hard worker.

hey i just noticed the keyboard is back to normal. oorah!!!

oh i don't think i mentioned that me and fish white-washed in. it means we both are new to the area.

i love you all, and hope you have as good of weeks as i'm about to have. but i doubt it.

love, elder brimley

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween


We decided to go all out this time, so we bought a whole bunch of Roshen candy. there is a Roshen factory right next to my apartment, so it was easy. yeah, it smells up the whole neighborhood, its great.

which i won't be smelling anymore because i
got a TRANSFER CALL! yeah, pretty unexpectedly on friday morning. I'm out. i've only had two transfers here, three months. it
went quick. really quick. time is just flying. which is better than the alternative. i'm happy, excited for the new area, companion, district, but i easily could have done another one here. after only three months, i still feel like there is stuff i missed. but what ever, i'll go where i'm told.

as way of answering your questions, yes i think i should have enough money. i have technically ordered a couple of things from the artist, i just need to pay her. and she will have to send it to me somehow. but that is ok. as for a christmas package....where to start. beef jerky is always good. spices (especially taco seasonings, i eat that a lot. although i still have some left from last christmas.) as for clothes, i can get it easier and cheaper here, so no need. garments i can get for super super cheap, and free shipping, so no need. candy is always appreciated, of course. by the way, the mission got the halloween package, but because i live in mariupol, i don't have it yet. i'll get it on thursday. thanks so much!!!!!!!

my week it was good though. we had a good less
on with sasha on tuesday, we talked about the vision of the tree of life. he said he really liked it. he kept on adding onto the vision, making cool observations. like: once you get closer to the tree, it won't be so dark, because the light from the tree will shine through the darkness. he is such a great guy. i'm sad to say goodbye. hopefully one day he
will be baptised.

here is a quote from a kid in the mission: "a dude from siberia told me this place was cold. a black dude from africa told me it was hot here. i dude from iraq told me that this place is dangerous." i'd like to add my piece.

a woman who cannot leave her apartment, dogged us on a lesson. yeah. that happened this week. our babooshka who told us that we could come any time, who can barely walk without the help of a chair, wasn't home when we knocked. that was a low for the week i think.

we did a split with borget, a greenie in the other area. it was good, we walked alot. we went looking for less active members, and one of them was on the very edge of the city. and by the time we got there it was dark. and it turned into a maze. and we don't have a good map. and dang ukraine doesn't know how to number their buildings understandably. but eventually we found the right apartment, and we are fairly sure no one lives there anymore. dang day light savings makes it really dark by 5:30. thats not good for the work. it was a good night, we were very tired by the end. lots of walking.

so ever since i got a transfer call, we have been contacting/ exploring a lot. it has been fun, we got a lot of good pictures and saw some cool things i haven't seen yet. and i also am going to eat a sharma every day until i leave. they are just so dang good here.

anyways, thats pretty much it. i'm doing good. i'll let you know next week where i end up. if i stay in my next area for 3 transfers, this will be my thangsgiving, christmas, new years, russian christmas, valentines day, presidents day, and birthday area. this is a big one. just everyone pray for me that i don't go back to donetsk. i've had enough of that city.

i love you guys. thanks for all the letters. thanks for the package! i hope you enjoy the pictures. i'll try to send a few more before i leave.

love you!

love, elder brimley

Saturday night was pretty scary

Hello my american friends!

I am happy about the week. more things worked out than normally, people just seemed to meet with us. thats always good. it doesn't sound like much, but 10 lessons in a week for this area isn't bad. we met with pretty much everyone that is possible and willing to meet with us. and got two new investigators! not bad at all for one week. and some other...not so cool stuff happened. but not to me, so thats good. but i'll talk about that later.

tuesday, we finally met with igor, a guy that has been coming to institute, ward activities, even church once, for months. but he has never just met with us missionaries for some reason. he is kind of an interesting guy. the other day, us and some youth were at the church, and he was like, when is somebody going to tell me about joseph smith? i told him anytime, and he kind of played it off like he was joking. but later i called him and finally got him to have a meeting with us. it's a big step. so we meet and talk, get to know each other. we planned on teaching the first lesson, but we got kind of sidetracted because he admitted to us (i don't think it was a secret, i just didn't know) that he was an atheist. but only kind of an atheist. it is pretty obvious to me that he is doubting his unbelief. we ended up just talking about God for an hour, and by then it was too late to teach the restoration thoroughly. it was still good though. we peaked his interest. the problem is, he is leaving for two weeks tomorrow, and i don't know if i'm staying that long. hopefully, i guess.

i don't know if i'm staying or going. its pretty much 50-50. i don't mind either way, i'll be happy. i'll find out on friday. i love mariupol, but i also would love to go back to xarkov.

we had couple of days without much to do other than contact, but we actually saw some (not a lot, but some) success. this area is hard for contacting, i don't really know why. luckily, we had some stuff to break it up with: a youth fireside, district meeting, youth night. sasha and igor came to youth night, which was good. we also had like five member lessons, talked about "my zion", which is a way to get referrals, but it didn't work very well. we will keep trying with that.

on friday we got another new investigator, a babooshka who lives in our...stairwell. подъезд. we met her randomly thanks to a mistake i made a week or two ago, and in the process, we asked her if we could come over sometime and talk to her. she was ecstatic, yes! please! i spend every day alone in my apartment come over please! so we did, we had a nice visit. she is pretty brainwashed by the orthodox church, but she is sweet. taught a nice first lesson. it will be good to meet her, give her some company, and hopefully we can help her come closer to God.

saturday night was pretty scary. we were at the church, it was sasha's (the guy who is going on a mission soon) birthday, so we were having a cake with him. a couple of elders in my district were messing around, trying to do a backflip off the others back, and basically, not surprisingly, it ended up bad. one elder got a really bad cut on his forehead, and dislocated his shoulder. he had to get stitches in his forehead, and he is getting an mri tomorrow for his shoulder. pretty scary, there was a lot of blood. but it is all taken care of, kind of. it was scary for a while.

anyways, i'm doing good. i'm happy right now. i'm preparing for the long winter, it is getting cold already. but i'm excited. i'm still loving the mission. i love all of you guys. thanks for all the letters and everything.

love elder brimley

Monday, October 17, 2011

Derek recovers

Dear family and friends,

So the craziness has passed. It was fun while it lasted, but I'm happy to be healthy--hopefully I'm healthy. the doctor in Donetsk told me, "you are a healthy person now. you can go eat McDonalds. but you aren't healthy." so I'm taking some stuff to heal me. i feel completely OK, i don't have any symptoms anymore. Dr. mayberry, the Kiev doctor, says I'm going to be totally fine, and i trust him.

OK lets answer mom's questions: yes, my comp of course missed me when i was gone. everybody did. actually, i've felt a lot of love from the branch, all the members were pretty worried about me. i didn't do much work with them in Donetsk, unfortunately. i brought up my proselytes, but in the hurry, i forgot my pants. plus, the doctor told me to take it easy. but i was willing! we did have one lesson, with an investigator girl. my comp stayed down here with another companionship. they did some work in our area, so it wasn't a complete waste. i still don't know who that man was who yelled at us, i never heard of him again. probably a state health worker. Sasha is doing good, i hope he gets baptized soon. we talk about it often.

ok so until thursday i was in Donetsk. which was pretty annoying, because we were mostly just waiting around by the end. its ok though. they had to figure out what was wrong. so monday night we had family night with a family in petrovsky, in the zone leader's area. it was good, they fed us deliciously. tuesday we finally got the results of the tests i took on monday. we got them around threeish, translated them, and sent them to dr. mayberry. he said i was doing a lot better, most of the bad signs had gone down, though there was still some stuff not perfect. he was also worried about the blood in my urine, so he advised to get another urine test. we couldn't that day, it was too late, so we did it the next day. i gave it Wednesday morning, got the results that night, and talked to a doctor about it. he gave me some ideas for medicine, and i talked to dr. mayberry about them, and he said that it would be good, so i've been taking them. it was too late to go home on wednesday, so we left thursday morning. i was pretty happy to be back. it was way annoying to just sit around, even though i felt better already. but there was nothing to be done. it was a fun little trip, but i realized that i still really want to be doing missionary work.

the rest of that day on Thursday i just got re-settled in, showered, dressed, ate, and that night we had a youth night sort of thing, and we actually had three investigators there: Sasha, Igor, and this dude named Victor. that was crazy to see him. victor is like a forty year old man i first met in donetsk at english. he came regularly, but then english got cancelled, so i never saw him again. suddenly he shows up to the building and i was just in shock. so he said he would like to meet with us personally, and we definitely will. that would be crazy if he turned into a good investigator. it was an ok night, so not very many people showed up, and nobody really knew what we were doing. but it was good.

so i want to survive a little bit more comfortably this winter. thus, friday morning we went to the market and bought a sweet hat (also to hide my terrible haircut.) and some legit warm pants. i still need to get some gloves, a sweater, and some winter boots. i really should have had those last winter. we had a good district meeting later that day, followed by correlation meeting. after that we had planning and dinner. Saturday was a pretty empty day, so we had lots of time to contact. we luckily had a lesson with Sasha, the member, not investigator. we gave him a suit that i found up in the office in Donetsk. he is going on a mission in about a month, and i knew he needed another suit, and it is a pretty nice one. actually i think it is a really nice suit. i don't know anything about suits, but another elder told me that it was a really nice brand, probably about a 500$ suit. he was very appreciative. he is an awesome guy. we talked about how to prepare to go on a mission.

president campero came down for church on sunday, it was really good. he was awesome, and i think it helped them understand that they need to support us. he pretty much told them that if they don't support us, then he will take elders out of the branch. after church we had interviews. it is always good to talk with president. he is such a humble man. so loving. just what this mission needed. a perfect pick. by the way, he said that we will be able to Skype at Christmas. that will be good. whoa. thats only like two months away. we have almost made it through the biggest gap.

OK my time is running out. but thank you all for your support, your prayers, and your love. i love you guys and miss you a lot. i want you to know that i know the church is true. and i love this gospel. i've been reading a lot of talks recently, especially Neal a. Maxwell, and i just love the gospel. it is so fascinating. you can never know it all. anyways, you guys have a great week.

love, elder Brimley

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on Derek's illness

Dear Family and Friends,

Many of you expressed concern about Derek based on his last
email, so I thought I would give you an update.

I actually talked to him today. I called the mission office to get an
update and he was there. He went to see a doctor this morning and was
put on antibiotics for an infection. He was also diagnosed with
Gilbert's syndrome by a Dr in Salt Lake and a Dr. serving as an area
Doctor over Ukraine. He describes this syndrome this way:"After
discussing his case with a Gastrointestinal Specialist in SLC, we feel
your son has Gilbert's syndrome. This is were there is a mild
deficiency in a liver enzyme that processes bilirubin. It is a benign
process that does not need treatment. It can be caused from such
things as viral illnesses and prolonged fasting. It can also run in
certain families. I asked that he have his liver tests repeated in a
month to establish a new baseline"

Steve actually has this syndrome also. I think his appearance of
yellowish eyes and skin is the reason the hospitals and Doctors in
Ukraine would not help him because of the fear of Hepatitis. Derek
sounded good although it has been quite an ordeal for him. A couple
scary experiences with the Ukrainian health care system. We are hoping
that he makes a full recovery and can focus on being a missionary. He
is anxious to get back to Mariupol where he is serving.

We really appreciated Dr./Elder Mayberry who helped Derek and
communicated with us and let us know what was happening with him. He
told me to tell everyone hello and thanks you for prayers on his
behalf. I also wanted to thank you for your concern and kindness. We
are so lucky to have so many people who care for us.
love to all,
PS Derek was worried that I would freak out...I didn't do too bad.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Derek Learns About Ukrainian Hospitals--the Hard Way

Hello everyone,

I am so happy that p-day has come and i'm talking to you guys finally! it has been one of those weeks. Mom, i kind of envision that you are going to freak out, so i will start out like this: don't freak out. i'm totally good. don't worry. i look great. i got a haircut yesterday and it looks good (actually elder winchester kind of messed up and i've got a weird part on the side of my head, but it will go away.) on saturday i had a huge beard and it looked great. but i'll get to that later.

there is a lot to write. i don't think this has anything to do with it, but we had a barbeque with Rustam, this awesome member, in celebration of his birthday, on p-day. it was way fun, and i ate a whole lot of meat. it was so tasty. mmmm it was good. we had a blast celebrating and everything. that night we had a good family night with mama bigoon and our investigator sasha. we talked about doing missionary work, and sasha actually seemed very interested, so that is awesome. then, we went to sleep. or at least, tried. for some reason, i just couldn't get to sleep at all. sometimes that happens, i figure, but it was a long night. when we woke up, i felt pretty exhausted, which was understandable. i also had some pain just going through my body, but it wasn't too bad. and we didn't have too much to do that day, so we just took it easy, went and helped mow the lawn of the church, made phone calls, and at night had one member lesson. i figured afterwards that i was going to have a great night sleep, because i was so exhausted. i had no appetite so i didn't really eat all day except one pancake my companion made, and i had to force it down. not because it was disgusting, it was rather tasty.

yeah, i didn't sleep at all again tuesday night. the pain was getting worse throughout my body, and especially my legs. i had taken a lot of advil, but it didn't do too much, it seemed. i just moved around all night, and got up to go to the bathroom several times during the night. i "woke up" feeling a bit better, but, trying to study was impossible. i was so tired, and my mind couldn't focus with all the pain. it wasn't like, extreme pain, but it was enough. that morning we started a split with mccallison, who came to me, and by then i was worse. we had a lesson with a member, and then came home and made tacos. again, i didn't have much appetite, so i had one small taco and called it good. then we walked to a lesson at the church. by the time we got there i was really exhausted, and in pain. our investigator dogged us, but luckily mama bigoon was there. she freaked out about my sickness. my eyes were yellow again, and my fever had risen. we measured my temperature, and it was 38,75- about a 102. thats not good. she suspected hepetitis again, and called a taxi to take me home. to break my fever, she did this weird thing. she rubbed me down with vinegar. don't worry, only partly. she told mccallison to do the rest, which he did. i thought it was pretty weird. but actually it helped. maybe. anyways, i call some people, and they tell me to get some blood tests done.

that night again, like usual, not much sleep. and lots of peeing, which was painful. i wake up feeling better, but i knew that it was a lie. ok so this is now thursday. mama bigoon comes and picks us up, because she is amazing like that, and we walk together to the blood place. she used to work at the hospital, so she hooked us up, took us to the good place, got us good service. here in this country before blood tests you aren't supposed to eat the whole day before, so i hadn't. and i hadn't in the past few days. and i was just weak in general. so giving blood was actually worrisome, given my inclination to pass out like a little baby. plus they are ruthless sticking in their needles here. she sticks me, and i feel the blood rush out of my head. i knew what was coming, but i fought it off until she was done taking the blood. after, i must've looked bad, they start waving at me, keeping me consious. i needed some energy, so they brought me some tea. i started drinking and then i realized, this probably isn't fruit tea. its probably green tea. but then i thought, marijuana is bad unless you have a medical reason. i needed that tea. dont judge me! i'm a sinner. dont worry i repented.

so then we go home and i took a little nap. i woke up and felt a lot better. we had district meeting and because of my fallen, pathetic state we had it in our apartment. the zl's bangeter and winchester came down. we had a good district meeting, but throughout it i just felt worse and worse. it started with the shivers, and i knew what that meant. i got myself warm and it turned into a fever. i was in a lot of pain and really weak and just out of it. the zl's and mccallison stayed with me afterwards while the rest of the district went to another meeting at the branch. they gave me a priesthood blessing. while they were there, mama bigoon came over and checked me out. so my fever was 103. she called an ambulance. but here ambulances come into the apartment to take care of you, and then if necessary, take you away. this huge fat dude who smelled strongly of smoke. basically he checked me and admitted that he had no idea. he really wanted to take me to the hospital, because it is like a law. we told him no, i'm not going to a mariupol hospital. they fought for a while, and eventually, we won. but they gave me a big ol' shot right in the cheek. not very pleasant. i don't recommend it. i don't know what was in the shot, but it made me feel great! really just fantastic. so i called dr. mayberry, the main doctor in kiev. i told him my symptoms, and he said that he couldn't diagnose it, that it was serious, and he wanted a hospital to check me out. and that he didn't trust public hospitals in ukraine, so i would need to go to donetsk.

luckily, the zl's were already down, so i just went up with them. i quickly packed my bags, called a taxi, and left. it was way expensive, 500 grivin. we went straight to this really nice hospital there, and talked with this cool doctor. he checked me out a bit, and told me that he thought it was hepetitis. unfortunately, according to some stupid law, a person with my symptoms aren't allowed to stay with them. so they told me to get a blood and urine test to see if it was. i already had a blood test, so i decided to just go to the zl's to stay the night. there i had another long, sleepless night.

ok that was all thursday. friday was another really long day. i woke up feeling better. after we woke up we drove to the office, where the mission driver picked us up in the (brand new) mission car. he drove us to the main donetsk public hospital. we walk into the dark, cold, scary building and ask the lady where to go with a sick person. she looked at us like we were crazy, so we explained further. she said she had no idea and went to ask someone else. someone else came out and told us to come back when we get the blood results. so we go back to the office and wait for results. as we were waiting this dude strolls in, sweating, in a suit, with a suitcase, and starts asking, where is the sick kid? i say, right here. he starts yelling at me for not going to a hospital yesterday after calling the ambulance. i say, i went to a hospital, but he wasn't listening. he was mad. he kept yelling, and other people came into the room until it was a full enough room, everyone just yelling. eventually we calm him down, and he leaves. we still don't know who sent him, or how he found out where i was.

then the results come. they aren't good. so the normal belirubin count in blood should be from 1.7- 20.5. mine was 54.9. a lot of other bad things. we run back to the hospital where five different people check me out, and give me a diagnosis i can't remember. they wanted to hospitalize me there. i didn't want that. it was a terrible hospital. dirty, a bunch of babooshky running around everywhere. i didn't want that at all. we were trying to give our doctor (mission doctor) in kiev all this information, so he could figure out what to do next, and they refused to give us the information. they got angry when we asked, offended, started yelling at us and told us to leave. we told that to the doctor, and he was like, yeah, you don't have to deal with that crap. thats why we hate public hospitals. get out of there. so we went to that other hospital and got a sonogram. its a boy! they actually didn't find much.

so then i was talking to the doctor in kiev again, and he sounded like i was doing ok and that i was going to get better without hospitilization. he said i should get some more tests but i didn't need anything too serious. so that was a weird shift. so i went home and slept again. i went on saturday morning to get the blood test but they are closed on the weekend! good job, ukraine. so i spent sat/sun watching conference. it was awesome! i loved it. i don't have too much else to say about it, but it was great. oh and on saturday a little bit of blood came out with my pee. it wasn't too much, i'm ok. and so this morning we went and gave the blood, three vials full, and a urine test too. i'll get the results tomorrow. so....i'm feeling much better! don't worry about me. everyone has been great to me. i'm in good hands.

MOM DON'T FREAK OUT. I LOVE YOU. you are so great. i never appreciated you guys like i do now, and i'm so excited to see you all again. but i don't want to come home yet, i'm so glad i have another 9 months to serve. i love the mission. but being sick (sorry mom) stinks! thanks for everything. you guys rock, i love you.

love, elder brimley

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giant steel factory was beautiful

Dear family and friends,

Hey, so first off, so i don't forget: if you want anything from this art lady, you need to let me know by next monday. it takes a while to get things finished, as you might imagine. i think we should get at least something. it is pretty cheap: about 40 $ for a big egg. everything is probably around 30-50$. let me know, please.

what up, yo? no, we didn't get to watch conference. and because of some decisions somewhere, i don't know when we are going to get to watch it. we get owned here. when did the provo tabernacle burn down? that is cool they are making a new temple there, that will help with the traffic. it will have to be pretty small, i guess.

oh and by the way, i heard through the grape vine that there was a physics discovery recently. and that neutrinos have broken the speed of light. so if that is true, that is the biggest thing in physics in like a hundred years. not that i'm some huge physicist or anything, but... you know. just keep me updated. (note: I guess Ukraine hears about scientific breakthroughs before the rest of the world)

OK on to the week. i don't know if i want to go through day by day this week. it isn't worth it. lets go through the big stuff. on Tuesday we were supposed to have a new investigator lesson, but the dude called and told us that he was out of town. so we had no lessons that day. in all we only had four lessons this week. i don't know what happened, we got dogged several times, a few people were out of town, people just couldn't meet. worse than usual, i mean. but its OK. we had a good day Wednesday to make up for it. we had a good district meeting, and then we went out as a district and contacted, basically. none of us had anything else to do, so we went on some little splits. then, that night i started a split with garlock, a kid in the district. he is a fun, cool kid, so it was a good time. he is in a hard area, so we didn't do any teaching or anything. but it was still good.

so Sasha is doing really well. we met with him twice this week, once at family night with some youth, and then just a lesson on Friday. the lesson was really good. we talked about the atonement and repentance. he ate it up, he said he really enjoyed the lesson and learned a lot. he likes specifics, so we went pretty deep into the repentance process. he is such a legit guy. he loves meeting, loves the people, and came to church for his second time yesterday! I'm way happy for him, he is making good, slow maybe, but good progress. i love that guy. he brings us goodies pretty much every lesson. he works as a candy salesmen, so he knows the good stuff. that isn't the only reason i love him, don't worry.

Saturday was pretty fun, too. it was church wide service day! we went to the church, and raked up leaves for about 30 minutes. we didn't make too much of a difference, and i don't know why we raked up leaves before any of them even fell, but rake we did. and then we had a delicious little picnic. sports night got cancelled so we had nothing to do the rest of the day, unfortunately. but what ev's.

I'm trying to think of other things that happened. a couple of hours ago, me and my comp did monthly shopping at a wonderful store called metro. we spent 1000 grivin, which is about 150 bucks. approximately, half of our combined monthly funds. i think it was wise. i hope it was. oh! me and my comp have been running in the mornings, and the other day we ran to this legit 14 story abandoned apartment complex. we climbed to the top, which turned out to be super legit. the view was amazing! one of the best views I've seen in this country. the sunrise in the background of the giant steel factory was beautiful.

OK. well I'm out. thanks for everything! love you guys!

love, elder brimley